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President Biden cuts foreign trip short to meet Speaker McCarthy on raising debt ceiling


President Joe Biden and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy met Tuesday afternoon to discuss a way to raise the debt ceiling. McCarthy, R-Calif., said after exiting the meeting that the sides remain “far apart .. but it is possible to get a deal by the end of the week.”  McCarthy acknowledged a “lot of work to do in a short amount of time and unfortunate that we are where we are,” but said, “If this is where we were in February … I’d be very optimistic that we’d get this done right away.”

Biden said there was an “overwhelming consensus” among the leaders that defaulting on the debt was not an option. That outcome would threaten a recession, devastate retirement accounts, force layoffs, and prompt a blow to the nation’s reputation around the world. Biden called Tuesday’s meeting ‘good and productive,’ and expressed confidence that a default could be averted.  The White House said the meeting was “productive and direct” and that Biden hopes to check in with the leaders by phone while traveling overseas this week and meet with them again when he returns.  The President is leaving for Japan on Wednesday to attend a summit of the Group of Seven major industrial countries; the White House said Tuesday that Biden would cut his trip short and will return Sunday.

Failure to reach an agreement to lift the borrowing limit threatens the first-ever default on the nation’s $31.4 trillion debt, an outcome that could prove catastrophic for the U.S. economy and upend the political landscape.

Editorial credit: Salma Bashir Motiwala /

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